CacheCrazy.Com: 5-5-2-1: Five Events, Five Counties, Two States, One Day

Saturday, December 7, 2013

5-5-2-1: Five Events, Five Counties, Two States, One Day

By: George aka ggggeo2
space iconAs many of you may know, Groundspeak declared November 6 and 7, 2013 to be Geocaching in Space day(s). Everyone who attended an event on one of these days got a Geocaching in Space souvenir for their geocaching profile. As it turns out, geocachers worldwide scheduled over 1,100 events at some point during those two days. I decided to host my own event that day, and taking a look at the other events in my local vicinity, I noticed that there were four others in the "general" area (general being used loosely here.) Well, that was great, but which day and what time were they scheduled?

OK, this was coincidentally odd: they were all on the same day, but at different times. Some Google Maps sleuthing revealed that it might just be possible to hit all of them in one day! I checked with geo-buddy Team Firenze to see if he would be up for the challenge. After we both secured spousal approval: Challenge Accepted! As the date approached, we planned out the routes and bookmarked some easy park and grab type caches (i.e., lower than 2 difficulty and terrain and usually near parking or roads) for the trip, since we would be on a tight schedule.

Finally, the day of the events came. I was a little nervous because we had a lot of traveling to do, lots of places to be at specific times, and hopefully bunches of caches to grab along the way. The first event I attended was the event I hosted at a Perkins Restaurant located on my route from home to work. I have had several breakfast events before, and the turnout has usually been in the 15-20 range, but the geocachers came out of the woodwork this time. Presumably this is because of my charisma and charm, and not because of the Geocaching in Space souvenir they would get for attending. (I decided not to confirm this theory and so it remains largely speculative at this time.) I ended up having at least 40 people show up! (The logged attendees count is higher because I allowed a local high school geocaching club to have an extension of the event later in the day. They didn't realize that event caches need to be listed at least two weeks prior and missed submitting on time, but asked me if they could tag on to mine. Of course, I agreed.)

Event #1

Event 1 Map
Event Name: Come Be Surly Bright & Early...In Space!
GC Code: GC4QVHF
Event Owner: ggggeo2 (yours truly)
Difficulty/Terrain: 2.5/1.0
Time: 6:30am-8:30am
Number Attended*: 46
Event Held At: Perkins Restaurant
Location: Doylestown, Bucks County, PA

Team Firenze snapped a few pictures and we hung out with lots of my geocaching friends like Team Firenze, Geo-Ben, skibumz, TAXMAN 1, Stamp My Art, and lots of others. I had bacon, eggs, and pancakes for breakfast, along with about 3 cups of coffee (hey, I was there for 2 hours!) Eventually, 8:30am rolled around, I thanked everyone for coming and said a few goodbyes, then headed off to work. It was about 13 miles from home to the event, and about 26 minutes drive, then another 13 miles and 30 minutes to work.
Come Be Surly
The crew who came to be surly, bright and early
(picture courtesy Team Firenze)
Come Be Surly PHS Extension
PHS Geocaching Society extension event
(picture courtesy msklem24)
Intermission: I went to work for a while, and left a little early, about 4pm, to go meet Team Firenze. Another 28 miles and 42 minutes to our meeting spot.
Fast forward to later in the day, about 5pm. I met up with Team Firenze in the parking lot of a local Walmart and we left his car there. We hit several new caches in the area, then headed to the next event. It was about 10 miles and 25 minutes from Walmart to the event.

Event #2

Event 2 Map
Event Name: Lets Get Together #5
GC Code: GC4Q6GX
Event Owner: Jan111
Difficulty/Terrain: 1.5/1.5
Time: 6:00pm-8:00pm
Number Attended*: 26
Event Held At: Applebee's Restaurant
Location: Hatfield, Montgomery County, PA

We arrived a few minutes before the official start, and geo-buddy Rebel Cruzer pulled up in the parking spot next to us. We exchanged greetings, then headed into the Applebee's and found the geocaching group. Hostess Jan111 greeted us and we signed in. I walked around and chatted with other geocachers, several of whom I had seen just 12 hours earlier at breakfast (including the hostess.) Other cachers kept arriving and I mingled and chatted for a while.
Applebee's Restaurant
Applebee's at night (Not actually the one we visited)
Team Firenze started giving me the "ok, we gotta get going" look, so after saying "hi" to a few more new arrivals, we said our goodbyes and headed on to the next event. This one was a hike, about 53 miles and 65 minutes driving. As we got close to the next event, we realized we had a little time before it started, so we stopped for a few local geocaches first. It was soon time to head to the event and we followed the GPSr navigation.
Bad choice in this case as for some reason it had us going south, away from the event. After a few minutes I said "Hold on, this feels wrong" and I spun the car around and headed back in the opposite direction, using a different GPSr. Note: I use the term "spun the car around" very loosely here – one could technically say I pulled off onto the shoulder, examined the map, then did a U-turn back onto the road (no other cars were coming.) The event was only scheduled for 15 minutes, so we high-tailed it back to the event, and arrived just three or four minutes late.

Event #3

Event 3 Map
Event Name: Blast off into space flash mob event
GC Code: GC4QVFA
Event Owner: moliveri
Difficulty/Terrain: 1.0/1.0
Time: 8:00pm-8:15pm
Number Attended*: 15
Event Held At: Soccer Field
Location: Gibbstown, Gloucester County, NJ

At this event, we were literally in new territory as neither of us knew many other cachers here, with the exception of mortonfox (who seems to be everywhere these days!) I had been in email contact with CO before the event, so I found him and chatted for a few minutes. Special note: this was the only event that had cookies! We hung out and chatted with the local cachers for a while, then they had a door prize drawing. Team Firenze won a travel bug tag and I won nothing. Oh well, we said goodbye and were on our way again to the next event. Most of the group stuck around for a night hike. It would have been great fun, only we had other events in store.
 blastoff_after_event_large
The night hike after "Blast off into space."
(picture courtesy maz001)
We once again were on our way to the next event, this one hosted by local geocaching group S.T.R.A.N.G.E. We drove another 34 miles and 51 miles, but went right through the south side of Philadelphia so we hit a little traffic which made us a few minutes late to the event. (Yes, again.)

Event #4

Event 4 Map
Event Name: S.T.R.A.N.G.E. Rockets into Space (Again)
GC Code: GC4Q34V
Event Owner: Hoagies and Mrs.Hoagie
Difficulty/Terrain: 1.0/1.0
Time: 9:00pm-10:00pm
Number Attended*: 35
Event Held At: Wegman's Grocery Store Café
Location: Downingtown, Chester County, PA
When we arrived, most attendees had already arrived and the event was in motion. We made our way to the sign-in table and, well, signed in. Then we walked around and talked to more cachers. I got a strong sense of déjà vu since this was the second or third time I had seen some of these folks today! Even Signal the Frog made an appearance (though this was the first time today I had seen him.) The door prize drawing started and a hush fell over the crowd. This time, Team Firenze won nothing, but I won some Rite in the Rain log sheets. Those are always handy!

STRANGE Group Photo
The attendees at S.T.R.A.N.G.E. Rockets into Space (Again)
(picture courtesy Mrs. Hoagies)
Signal the Frog at STRANGE
Even Signal, everyone's favorite amphibian geocaching mascot, made an appearance
(picture courtesy Paranym)
Once again we couldn't stay until the end of the event so we said goodbye to a few folks and headed on our way. We grabbed a quick cache in the parking lot, then drove down dark, back country roads to the next event. We had to stop for gas on the way so that we even had a chance to make it to the next event, but it was starting to look a little iffy on timing. The next event was 54 miles drive and 69 minutes (not including time to gas up.) The event was a flash mob and only scheduled for 15 minutes. Would we make it to the next event?

Event #5

Event 5 Map
Event Name: Geocaching in Space is the BEST!
GC Code: GC4Q18V
Event Owner: Trekker67
Difficulty/Terrain: 1.5/1.5
Time: 11:00pm-11:15pm
Number Attended*: 34
Event Held At: Truck Stop
Location: Hamburg, Berks County, PA
Alright, you've probably already figured out by the title of the article that we made it to the fifth event. We were a few minutes late, but we made it there for the 11:08pm (local time) launch of the space shuttle which was being broadcast on a laptop at the event. This event was put on by another local group, BEST (hence the event name.) We said hello to a few folks, then hurried over for the group photo (the first one we'd made it into all night!)
BEST Group Shot
Group photo at Geocaching in Space is the BEST! (picture courtesy Trekker67)
Whew, we had made it to all the events, but our night was not yet over! We were still a good way from home, and there were still a few 24/7 available caches in the area. We headed off and grabbed several caches in the vicinity, then picked up route 78 and started to head home. We had noted several easy off/easy on cache and dash type caches on the way home, but we were talking and missed two out of three of them. (I blame the navigator, you know who you are.)  This last leg was 63 miles and another 70 minutes or so. After a VERY long day of caching (6:30am to almost 1:00am the next day) we finally arrived back at our meeting spot and I dropped off Team Firenze at his car, then drove home (another 5 miles and 9 minutes.)

The Summary

Man, were we beat. I finally got home at 1:05am, kissed my wife, then climbed into bed and fell asleep. The next day or two I got caught up on my logs and figured out how far and how long we actually drove. The grand total (Note: my drive time to work and back are included, too):

Driving: 264 miles, 386 minutes (6.5 hours)

(11 hours total caching time attending events, driving, and finding caches)

Wow! It didn't seem like that at the time! (In case my wife reads this, that's just like going 20 miles to an event, half an hour each way, only 5 in one day, right?...Sweetie?) This was definitely a Cache Crazy day!
travel_map_small
Our CacheCrazy trip to 5 events in 5 counties
events_small
The event list
And what did we have to show for it? Well, Team Firenze had his new travel bug (he sleeps with it under his pillow,) I had my Rite in the Rain log sheets, and we both had nifty new Geocaching in Space souvenirs. (I looked for a special designation for attending five such events, but Geocaching.com hasn't yet built that in for some reason.)
space souvenir
The coveted souvenir
My only regret was that I didn't get to spend more time at the events. Granted, I spent 2 hours at the first event, but we had to sign in and hit the road again at the evening events with less time for chatting. All in all, I had a great time, got to see almost everyone I know in the regional geocaching community, got to spend time with geo-buddy Team Firenze, got a Geocaching in Space Souvenir, Rite in the Rain logs, and we increased our find counts by about 20 that day. Overall, a good haul. I may even put out a challenge cache that finders have to attend five events in a certain time period…but that's a future article!

4 comments:

Kim@Snug Harbor said...

That qualifies as an "Excellent Adventure." Outstanding!

Kevin Bloodhounded said...

What an awesome post George! WOW, a caching marathon! Thank you for sharing your adventure and detailing it so well. Super job!
BH

George said...

Yeah, that was a seriously cache crazy day (and night!) Thanks,guys!

Paul DiNella said...

Haha, those last few caches we missed were pretty funny. It was like (1 mile past the exit) "We needed to get off back there". I was sleepy. --Team Firenze

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